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COMMONLY MISUSED ENGLISH WORDS, PHRASES, AND TERMS, 13

July 3, 2021

THE WORD OF THE DAY: ‘ONLY’

This is “No Bullshiting“, by Harry Agina.

Greetings, folks!

Today’s choice of “ONLY” as the subject for “COMMONLY MISUSED ENGLISH WORDS, PHRASES, AND TERMS” series, is not really about grammatical error. I only want to crack a commonsense joke on how silly it sounds to me when people say “ONLY” as they write or announce a LARGE sum of money. I mean, adding “ONLY” makes sense to me only if it is said for minuscule sum of money, meeeeen!!!

You know, there is this connotation (invoked-feeling) of that word ‘ONLY’, in colloquial conversation, which comes across in perception to mean ‘SMALL.’ Mind you, this connotation is only slightly supported by the dictionary definition of the word. ‘ONLY’s synonyms include—alone, lone, one-off, solitary, solely—yet, I believe that it’s more commonly perceived as ‘small’ in everyday colloquial conversations. A typical Nigerian street-babe, for instance, would say to her dude, “Na ONLY this small money you dey give me?” In this connotation, it is more acceptable when she says “Is it one thousand naira only you dey give me?”, than when she says “Is it one million naira only you dey give me?”, especially when the speaker is not worth hundred thousand naira herself. You catching my drift yet?

Just check this out, will you; a dude, or ‘dudess’ is as broke as, maybe even more broke than a church rat, and he or she is telling me the cost that I am supposed to  pay for a product. “The sum is one thousand dollars ONLY”, he says. Imitating a typical American street boy’s language in my sniggering spontaneous reaction, I’m like…“Nigger, is you fucking crazy, meeeen?!!! You ain’t got a dime in your motherfucking pocket, and you got the gall to refer to a whole thousand dollars as ‘ONLY’? Is you crazy, meeeeeeeeeen?!!!”

I will now tell you what actually triggered this blog today. I was looking at a regular Corporate Social Responsibility transmission on Africa Independent Television (AIT)…a wonderful humanitarian daily initiative, I must add! I had been seeing this program before, mind you, and each time, I couldn’t help but snigger, when an announcer, whose total salary for five years is less than five million naira, says something like, “Mrs. Garba is asking the public to help to pay medical bill to save her life. The amount required is ten million naira ONLY.” So, I’m like…Oh yeah, “Ten million naira only”? If ten million naira is “ONLY” to you; then why the fuck don’t you donate it yourself, huh? Again, though grammatically not wrong, it honestly doesn’t sound sensible to me at all, bearing in mind the common public colloquial connotation of ‘ONLY’ as ‘SMALL.’

I’m sure that you caught my drift already, even if you disagree…just wondering how come the banking world adopted that silly term, or whatever one calls it, and then imparted it to the society,, especially in Nigeria. Yeah, I know, as an adverb, the word ‘ONLY’ means “NOTHING MORE BESIDES”, which, in this use, denotes finality. However, the connotation that quickly jumps to my mind when I hear “only” at the end of a SUBSTANTIAL sum of money, is BELITTLEMENT of the sum, as if it is nothing. As I said, this is due to the common everyday colloquial connotation of ‘SMALL.’

Furthermore, in an announcement of a sum of money that donors are requested to pay hospital bill, what fucking purpose does “only” serve, huh? Are you reminding the donor to ensure that he doesn’t overpay, or what? It is said that preventing fraudulent alteration is the reason that the banking world came up with that silly term; right? Okay, so, does it mean that the announcer is scared that the donor may be fraudulent and alter the figures, huh, huh, huh??? Can you now see why I always crack up a little whenever I hear such announcements, meeeeeeeeen?!!!

Besides, I don’t really see how adding the word “only” at the end of figures can stop me from changing the figures. If you have your “only” at the end of your writing or announcement, then, all that I have to do is add your doggone “only” right back for you at the end of my changed figures; ain’t it? As I said right at the beginning, this is not really one of my typical “Commonly Misused English Words and Phrases in Grammar”, no sir, no ma’am; it’s just one of my jokes about certain things in our world that just don’t carry much commonsense to me, shikena (that’s all)!

So, dude, or ‘dudess’, if you ever ask me for money, please don’t add that “ONLY” stuff at the end of the sum, because, I am liable to retort with something like…Motherfucker, if it’s that simple, why the fuck are you asking me instead of doing it yourself, meeeeeeeeen?!!!😁😁

NBB INFOTAINMENT: “A PSALM OF BOB MARLEY” BY CULTURE BAND:

Today’s NBB Infotainment is a tribute to the late Ambassador and Legend of Reggae Music, Robert (Bob) Nesta Marley. The tribute, titled “A Psalm of Bob Marley”, is a product of “Culture” reggae band of Jamaica, featuring snippets of some Bob Marley titles and themes.

Marley was three months short of  reaching 36 years of age (born on February 6, 1945), when he went to rest in the Lord on May 11, 1981…so short-lived! However, he had already made his print in the sands of time in the world, with great achievements as the leader of the pack who developed and popularized reggae music around the world. Marley was synonymous with reggae.

I will give you a short personal story that contributes credence to this claim. I fondly remember an encounter when I arrived in San Francisco in California, back in the day (1978). A middle-age white dude who listened to some of my collection of reggae music instantly fell in love with my collection, and the following conversation ensued:

THE DUDE:  Hey, what type of music is that?

ME: Reggae music. (Surprised that he had never heard of reggae)

THE DUDE:  Who? Ragay? (Mutilated the name)

ME: No man, r-e-g-g-a-e—reggae (I corrected)

THE DUDE: Awesome!

ME: Are you saying that you never heard of reggae music before?

THE DUDE:  I don’t think so…not like yours. Where is it from?

ME: From Jamaica…by great names like Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, Bob Marley…

THE DUDE:  (Quickly interrupted) Ah, Bob Marley! I know his music…great stuff…love it!

ME: (Chuckling) Wait, you love Bob Marley, but you don’t know his form of music?

I was not only laughing because the dude knew of Bob Marley but didn’t know the name “Reggae”, but also for the fact that Americans, at that time, were actually very myopic in global view or knowledge. To a majority then (even up until internet and social media revolution), the world started and ended in America. America was the entire world to them. Actually, that conversation, and many others like it, before and afterwards in my early days in the US, gave me the confidence-boost that was so great to confront and “conquer” the Americans. I was a very young man who just arrived in a strange land of INTIMIDATING culture (or, I should say, a melting pot of cultures), different from what I had just left back in Africa.

I will tell you how that boost of confidence happened. There I was, slightly intimidated by the “mighty people” of the “mighty America”, who I had seen as more advanced, only to find out that they didn’t know shit about the world, meeeeen!!!

For another instance, whereas I knew all the capital cities of all the states of their America, TOO MANY of them did not have such knowledge about their own country, not to speak of outside America. As I said, there was no world outside America for a majority of the Americans that I met those days in America. I will end with just a short gist of another conversation that I had with a mix of youngsters like me, comprising white, Mexican, and black Americans. Upon hearing my accent, a white girl in the mix did the ever common double-take of comment-cum-question that I was now getting used to, “I love your accent; where’re you from?” she said in one swoop.

“Nigeria, Africa”,  I responded. And, apparently to impress the young lady, a male youngster quickly jumped in with, “Oh, I know where that is…Nigeria, that’s the capital of Africa; ain’t it?” Wait o, if you think that was bad, what do you call what the next youngster said. “No, meeeen, you’re wrong”, he said. “Africa is in Europe.” Are you laughing yet?

Suffice with the conclusion that, by the end of that conversation, which turned out to be a lecture by me on global geography, I felt like a king. My confidence booster was this: If Americans didn’t know the world outside America as I did, and I even knew more about their own America (their cities and all), then, who the fuck were Americans to make me feel inferior to them, huh, huh, huh??? In fact, I suddenly realized that what Americans who were young like me had over me was their advanced technologies; that I was actually smarted than great many of them. This reflected in classes in school even sooner than I tuned into their technologies, meeeeeeeen?!!!

Do remember that this is “NBB Infotainment” that is hinged on Bob Marley. The music is coming in a moment. Consider the foregoing as a morale-boosting motivational titbit for young Africans who migrate to western countries today for “greener pastures.” Bear in mind that you’ve got what it takes to compete very favorably; y’all hear me so? Go out there and conquer the world; you’ve got what it takes, meeeeeeeeen!!!

THE LYRICS OF “PSALM OF BOB MARLEY”:

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, hey

Here I chant for you, a psalm of Bob Marley, hey…

Here I chant for you, and for everyone to sing.

Here I chant for you, a psalm of Bob Marley.

Here I chant for you, and for everyone to sing.

He used to sing Get Up Stand Up, No Woman No Cry.

Inna dis ya Concrete jungle,

Wipe the teardrops from your eyes.

Breezes blowing, the weather is sweet,

But the earth in Guiltiness live inside.

Bring So Much Trouble In The World

Here I chant for you, a psalm of Bob Marley, hey…

Here I chant for you, and for everyone to sing,

I sing it up…

Here I chant for you, a psalm of Bob Marley.

Here I chant for you, and for everyone to sing, I,

He was the one who chant about Natty dread.

A so Jah say Don’t you Rock My Boat,

A feeling like Talkin’ Blues, and

Here I chant for you, a psalm of Bob Marley, hey

Here I chant for you, and for everyone to sing,

Come make me sing it up.

Here I chant for you, a psalm of Bob Marley, hey

Here I chant for you, and for everyone to sing

Them Belly Full But Them Hungry.

Walk down seventh street, Buffalo Soldier,

Come make we Chant Down Babylon, and,

Here I chant for you, a psalm of Bob Marley, hey!

Here I chant for you, and for everyone to sing.

Come make we chant it up.

Here I chant for you, a psalm of Bob Marley, I,

Here I chant for you, and for everyone to sing.

Natty dread, there’s a Natural Mystic blowing,

A So Jah Seh and the mystic movement now, and

Here I chant for you, a psalm of Bob Marley, hey

Here I chant for you, and for everyone to sing

Binghi man.

Here I chant for you, a psalm of Bob Marley

I sing it up.

Here I chant for you, and for everyone to sing,

Ziggy Marley.

Here I chant for you, a psalm of Bob Marley,

Here I chant for you, and for everyone to sing

Sister Rita.

And, finally, here is “Culture”, the Jamaican reggae band, with a tribute to the Legend of Reggae, Bob Marley: https://youtu.be/mJ3fM_FqKh8

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